Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Team Needs (Eastern Contenders)

The trade deadline is closing in fast and many contending teams are looking to fill holes to strengthen their rosters for the stretch run. Here's a quick look at team needs/adjustments for the Eastern Conf. contenders:

Raps--Should just hold tight with what they have. This team has alot of leeway this season since not much is expected, and I don't think Colangelo will or should take on a long contract. Just making the playoffs is more than enough this year in my mind.

Nets--Their prognosis is tough because I'm not sure which way Thorn is going to take this team. Is he going to blow up the roster & rebuild with youth, or is he looking to make a run at the playoffs with his vets? The Kidd-to-LA rumor is floating out there (although be careful, it's coming from Vecsey) and Vince seems to be in alot of trade talk, as well. But if they plan on holding onto their two All-Stars, they can always use more help on the frontline.

Knicks--Can't be counted out in the Sh-Atlantic. If Isiah could just get this team to play halfway decent defense & cut down on the turnovers, they could make a hard push for the division. If Isiah could rid himself of Francis or J. James, he quickly would, but both of their contracts are not nice. The Knicks could always use more reliable frontcourt depth.

Pistons--Looking pretty good of late, and clearly do not need frontcourt help. Probably could use a combo guard who can spell Billups--this was supposed to be Flip Murray's role but he seems to have fallen out of favor. If they can still pull off that Jaric/Nazr deal, they definitely should. Jaric can play minutes at all perimeter positions.

Cavs--Obviously, if they could somehow upgrade their PG spot that would be nice. But quality PGs are not easy to find. Heard some rumblings about Hughes being shopped. Not a bad idea in my mind--he seems like an uncomfortable fit with Lebron--you need a better shooting 2-guard next to Bron. The Cavs just have not gotten enough consistency from their backcourt this year and they really need to find a solution to take pressure off LeBron. Maybe they can bring back Flip Murray who did a nice job for them last year.

Bulls--No secret, post scoring. The heavy rumor is Gasol headed to Chicago, and he would be perfect. PJ Brown's $8 mil salary will be the core of the deal with Deng, Gordon, Ty Thomas & a possible draft pick being involved in some combination. If I was Paxson and if you're going to have to part with either Gordon or Deng, I would try to keep Gordon. I like Deng, but losing him will not hurt the Bulls too much with Nocioni still around. I think if they get Gasol, they become the slight favorite in the East.

Pacers--They really could use a true 2-guard in their lineup. Asking Granger or Dunleavy to try check 2-guards is not a good idea. It also would not hurt for them to get someone who can slash to the basket. They maybe could also use a another point guard considering that Tinsley's health is always precarious and Armstrong ain't particularly young.

Wizards--This team needs to change their defensive identity internally--I don't think just adding a renown defender or two will change things much; it's a team defensive problemm. Still, I would try to search for a defensive-minded role player in the trade market. Also, this team could use a true PG on the bench, someone with decent defensive ability if possible. I imagine the Wizards would like to use Etan Thomas in any trade talks since Etan & Haywood can't stand the sight of each other.

Magic--Scoring. This team just does not have the requisite scoring talent to be a serious contender right now. They need a dynamic scoring option on the perimeter. Either a 2 or 3, doesn't matter, Hedo is 15-point guy at best and Redick will never be more than 15-point guy himself. Grant Hill's contract is a big bargaining chip, but the Magic have to decide if they want to just let Hill's contract expire or try to use it to grab a scoring wing. If they let it expire they have the ability to be a major player in free agency this summer, so maybe they should just hold onto Grant.

Heat--If they have one area of uncertainty it's at the PG. Jason Williams has had difficulties staying healthy this year and Payton is playing on fumes. With the recent addition of Eddie Jones, the Heat have more leeway in possibly using Posey's expiring deal as trade bait. Also, if the Heat can unload Ant Walker's cumbersome contract, preferably for a traditional PF to team with Haslem, you make the deal.

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